Mary Beth Writes

Yesterday Len took this photo of two ospreys checking out their nest. He has been observing them for more than a week when he bicycles in their neighborhood. So far both birds will leave their nest for extended periods of time, so he doesn’t think they have chicks yet. 

A curious and true reality.

1. “Astroturfing” is a new social media term. It refers to phenomena such as the anti-quarantine protests that we have all seen covered on TV and in social media.

“… evidence has emerged that these may not be grassroots protests, but "astroturf"—in other words, a simulation of grassroots action … some of the largest Facebook groups used to organize many of these protests are run by a family of far-right, pro-gun activists: Ben Dorr, political director of a gun-rights group in Minnesota, and his brothers, Christopher and Aaron. The Facebook groups have become sources of the same kinds of misinformation about the coronavirus that have been seen at a number of the protests—that the virus is no worse than the flu, that the scientists working on a vaccine have ulterior motives, and so on. By Sunday, the groups had more than 200,000 members. According to the Post, other demonstrations have been promoted by the Michigan Freedom Fund, which is headed by a longtime adviser to Dick DeVos, husband of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos (the family denies organizational or financial involvement.).” This is from the Columbia Journalism Review https://www.cjr.org/the_media_today/amplifying-coronavirus-protests.php

Not every grassroots movement is grassroots. Some are astroturf.

BUT! Have you noticed some media is beginning to report these statistics? - About 30% of Americans support the protests but 70% want quarantining to continue until there is a safe way to return to whatever will be our next normal.

70% is a lot more than 30%. It helps to understand that we are not a minority.

2. Gerrymandering in Wisconsin: “… the data show that 64 of the 99 districts are more Republican than the state as a whole, based on their vote for governor.

In other words, Republicans enjoy a built-in 64-35 advantage in the partisan makeup of the 99 Assembly districts. In a hypothetical 50-50 election, in which there are equal numbers of Democratic and Republican voters in Wisconsin, no one crosses party lines and independents split down the middle, that translates into a massive 29-seat GOP advantage in the Assembly.”

The reason Republicans usually win everything in Wisconsin is because gerrymandered districts are absolutely skewed that way. Democrats outvote Republicans in elections, yet it is almost impossible for a Democrat to win any open state-level election. “Democrats won 53% of all the Assembly votes cast statewide while coming away with only 36% of the seats.”

Read the article. https://www.jsonline.com/story/news/blogs/wisconsin-voter/2018/12/06/wisconsin-gerrymandering-data-shows-stark-impact-redistricting/2219092002/

3. So why is this is my diary of living through this time in American history?  Because it indicates something I think most of us who are not politicians or campaign consultants are not cognizant of.  There are more Democrat-values leaning people in this state and nation than there are Republican-values leaning. 

I’m not saying Dems have it all right and Republicans are always wrong.  I AM saying that there are systems in place that are obscuring what most people care about and want.

We don’t have to teach people how to have values. We DO have to fight the corruption and manipulation of systems.

There’s a big difference there and it affects where we spend our time, money, and energy.

We are hosting our “Zoom and Cookies with Tom Palzewicz” next Thursday evening. If you are our friend and you also live in Wisconsin’s District 5 - we will be sending the invitation email to you. Gary, we are sending one to you.  Anyone else who is interested should send their email address to me at MB@MaryBethDanielson.com or put your address in the comment window. We will include you.  

We are not driving cookies to Chicago or Vermont - although a car trip it is seriously tempting.

 

 

 

 

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Quarantine Diary #150 8/11/2020 Taking a Break

I’m depressed. How about you?  I’m not the kind of depressed where I should call a doctor. I’m more “Michelle Obama depressed.”  Things feel stuck, wrong, and getting worse. There’s the pandemic and the feeble, chaotic response to it. There’s racial strife. When, if ever, will the police police themselves? Teachers and kids are being thrown back into schools like spaghetti thrown against a wall - to see who will stick? There’s the angry self-entitled idiocy of too many people.

Quarantine Diary #142 Swimming Lessons

“It's a good idea to begin at the bottom in everything except in learning to swim.” Unknown author

I was well into my 40’s when I realized that one doesn’t have to wait for perfect weather if one wants to go into the water. 

Quarantine Diary #141 8/5/2020 "Red Dust"

I just finished reading “Red Dust – A Path Through China” by Ma Jain.  It is a remarkable book that asks more questions than it answers.

Ma Jain was born in the 50’s and grew up grew up very poor in a small Chinese city. He remembers when his mother would simmer stones for dinner so that the neighbors would see her cooking and not realize how poor they were.  (A whole different take on the children’s tale “Stone Soup.") The violent and terrifying Cultural Revolution that Chinese citizens lived through is over but memories of it are in everyone’s minds.

Quarantine Diary #140 7/31/2020 Wishing you a Merry Quarantine Weekend

When I’m in a certain mood I love how-to articles – and I’m in that mood right now. I think it happens at the intersection of reasonable weather and Friday ... when happiness still seems possible.

I googled “How to have a nice weekend in the time of Covid” and guess what? There are no Wiki-How articles on how to be happy in a pandemic.

Let’s invent this right here, right now.

Quarantine Diary #134 Written while sweating …

My best coping skill for appalling weather is to show it who is boss. 30 below?  Cool. Let me put on all my clothes plus a hat down to my eyebrows and another one up to my glasses, and I’ll go out there.

Quarantine Diary #131 7/23/2020 "Becoming Labrador"

Yesterday I forgot to write about a movie we watched which I think many of you might like to watch, also.  We’ve been talking here about what one can stand to read and watch these days when our spirits are stressed and anxious.

I thought I wanted to reprise some of our Canada travels.  FYI, if you’ve traveled in a place you loved, put that place into your streaming service Search window, find some great or mediocre documentaries about that place, and revisit your memories.  It’s fun.

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